Henry Cowell presents a program on the music of Indonesia, featuring early recordings of gamelan music, as well as many transcriptions of Balinese music by Colin McPhee. The music of Indonesia first came to the attention of the West when in the 1920s Erich M. von Hornbostel and others collected and commercially released a number of gamelan performances, recorded in the villages of Indonesia. These early 78rpm records later inspired the Canadian composer, Colin McPhee, to travel to the island of Bali, for what was to be a trip of a few months but ended up lasting more than seven years. During that time McPhee made numerous transcriptions of ceremonial gamelan music for two pianos and occasionally for flute and piano. Cowell presents some of those early field recordings as well as many of McPhee’s arrangements, performed by McPhee and fellow composer Benjamin Britten, as well as one featuring the flute of Georges Barrère. McPhee’s fascination with the complex layered rhythms of traditional Indonesian music, was in turn, the inspiration for much of the percussion music by such avant-garde 20th century composers as John Cage and Lou Harrison, among others.
For more detailed program information and to browse other material in the Other Minds Archive visit: radiOM.org
August 31, 2016 Subject:
Both the actual Balinese music and McPhee's transcription are lovely. (I have read McPhee's Music of Bali several times over the last 30 years.) However, an issue that is never discussed when thinking of his work or Harrison, etc. is the difference of overtones. Balinese music is a bit unique in that it tunes its instruments to metal. Most other music of the world tunes their music to strings. -David Lee